19 of the best Indian couturiers presented their fashion films at the second digital edition of the Fashion Design Council of India’s Couture Week 2021. This year marks the 14th edition of the event and was held from the 23rd-29th of August.
For all the fashion nerds out there, here is a summary of everything that happened during Indian couture’s biggest week.
Manish Malhotra’s Nooraniyat showcase was all about the traditional red for brides! The designer opened the second digital edition of FDCI’s India Couture Week with a 5-minute film. ‘The Bridal Edit of Nooraniyat’ focuses on crimson lehengas with age-old zardosi, badla, and of course Malhotra’s signature sequins embroidery. Shades of blush and gold also make an appearance in the collection. The celebrity star of the presentation was Kriti Sanon, though Malhotra has showcased diversity in his selection of brides in the film. “My bridal edit is an amalgamation of moods and emotions of the brides,” says the designer.
Ivory and gold ruled Delhi-based designer Siddartha Tytler’s ‘Ambrosia’ Couture Collection. The fabrics veer towards organic taffeta, organza, cotton silk chanderi, and silk tissue, while the silhouettes are voluminous; anarkalis with 50 kalis for men and women, lehengas with 40 panels, sherwanis and ruffled dupattas created out of 60 metres of fabric.
Suneet Varma’s ‘Noor’ is painted in pastel hues with tone-on-tone embroidery, as well as more traditional reds. Sheer sleeves, off-shoulder necklines, and deep scalloped backs are complete with lavish thread work, delicate glass beads, and crystals. The wedding collection is in tones of red, ruby, sindhoor, and sienna.
Gaurav Gupta Couture 2021/22 showcased ‘Universal Love’, celebrating love in all its forms, ages, sizes, shapes and colours. The collection personified the mythical expanse and shimmering reality of the cosmos. Gupta’s signature structured silhouettes and embroidery come alive in shades of grey, blue, pink, violet, and gold. The film was shot at the ‘Mirror of the Sky’- Taj Faluknama and merges the modern with ancient heritage.
Pankaj & Nidhi
Designer duo Pankaj & Nidhi bask in the ‘Afterglow’ of their Couture collection. Trailing jackets, capes, flowing skirts are painted in iridescent shades of chromatic gold, pearl pinks, dove greys and ruby reds. The designers used techniques such as origami folding, handcrafted appliqués and latticework on new-age sustainable materials.
‘Ah-lam’ by Dolly J celebrated French blues melding into amethyst mauves, corals and green ash, bathed in gold and silver crystals. Ball gowns pinched at the waist and accentuated with crystal-encrusted belts added a touch of old-world glamour. The collection also featured long bridal veils, paired with traditional red lehengas.
Amit Aggarwal’s ‘Metanoia’ used the elements of earth, water and air to bring together a colourful collection. In hues of moss, roseate, azalea, taffy, mulberry, fuchsia and indigo, Aggarwal brought together 35 unique styles. The inventive designer applied hand painting over discarded PVC and hand-woven polymer, 3D hand-embroidered thread work and metallic cording in structured yet fluid silhouettes.
Ashima – Leena
‘Nazm-e-Mahal’ by Ashima-Leena is a timeless edit of classics. The designers combined hand embroidery with curated woven textiles, replicating the bygone grace from the Mughal era. The antique brocade sarees have been sourced from the original wardrobes of the maharanis of Rajasthan and have been lovingly restored by weavers from Banaras. The duo incorporated subdued shades of turquoise, pink, and peach, vibrant purple, dusky pink, ivory, magenta, aqua, pomegranate red, beaten gold, bold pinks, deep emerald, and sand-like beige.
Flowy, romantic silhouettes in pastel greens, blues and pinks feature heavily in the ‘Scintilla’ collection by Amit GT. The bridal wear is resplendent with long trains and bustles in gowns and the lehengas are more dramatic and voluminous. Keep an eye out for the gorgeous linear embroidery, ruffles, scrunched textures, and feathers.
Shantanu & Nikhil
The words edgy and bold came to mind while watching Shantanu & Nikhil’s ‘Oasis’ digital presentation for Couture Week. 70-30 in the favour of menswear, military-style bundis and bandhgalas, jackets and sherwanis are part of the edit. Blacks, greys, deep reds, earthy browns and couture prints dominated the palette of the collection. Watch out for the finger jewels and leather detailed jewellery as well!
Actress Chitrangadha Singh made a stunning appearance in Reynu Taandon’s ‘Zuri’ AW collection. The digital presentation shimmered with Swarovski embellished greens, blues, nudes, pinks. Celebrating whimsical surrealism, the couture edit is filled with mirrored lehengas, anarkalis, traditional saris, shararas and ghararas. “The silhouette is crafted keeping in mind all generations making the collection versatile yet trendy,” says Taandon.
Artistic mosaics of embellished pieces form Varun Bahl’s Memory / Mosaic collection. The designer has experimented with the idea of upcycling, to create pieces that are greater than their sum. Fun pops of colour, embroidery, lace are part of this haute couture bohemian floral collection. “I’ve tried to simplify my designs and cuts to reduce the ritual of wearing haute couture and infuse them with a certain refreshing lightness so that you’re encouraged to wear them more often, and in different ways,” says Bahl of the collection.
Falguni Shane Peacock
‘Love is,’ Falguni Shane Peacock’s Couture Collection 2021 was shot at the majestic monument of love, Taj Mahal, featuring the gorgeous Shraddha Kapoor. Embellished veils paired with white and red bridal lehengas set against the Taj, made for a visual treat. The creations are marked with architectural motifs like domes and minarets, filigree of foliage, and traditional fauna and birds. The designs showcased the handwriting and talents of a cluster of 250 craftsmen from the FSP-adopted villages in West Bengal.
Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna
Gowns and tuxedos make up the bulk of Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna’s couture outing. Perfect for a black-tie evening, the edit is dipped in gleaming crystals, layered cutwork, flowing fringes, metallic thread embroidery and rich fabrics. “We believe our collection with its emphasis on sculpted silhouettes softened with sensual shimmer is apt for the modern bride and groom who are breaking conventions by trying unusual silhouettes for their big day,” say the designers.
Another collection that paid tribute to traditional Indian craft techniques is Tarun Tahiliani’s ‘Artisanal Couture’ collection. The designer showcased a set of six capsule collections – Chikankari, Pichwai, Rangrez, Cocktail Goddess, Pakeezagi and Bridal. A bevvy of mellifluous fabrics, jaw-dropping jewellery accompanied the couture. Craft techniques like mirror jadau work, jaalis or dori, gotta patti, pearls, sequins, cut dana and lifted resham flowers, along with embroideries such as aari, zardozi, and dori were part of the edit.
Anamika Khanna’s joyful collection paid homage to the most intricate crafts of India. Glittering with pearl veils by Birdichand Ghanshyamdas and an abundance of flowers, the designer’s digital film was a study in reds, pinks and whites, with pops of blue and green.
Kunal Rawal’s Vision Quest brought to life a menswear edit full of joie de vivre with muse Sonam Kapoor. 55 unique styles were crafted using techniques like French knotting, double layering, pleating, patchwork, and fraying. The collection also marked the launch of the label’s new junior line for boys aged 4 -14 years.
Pairing a melange of deep purple with reds, forest greens and yellows, Anju Modi made a complicated combination of shades look effortless. ‘The Eternal Story’ plays on the value of heirlooms, each look is steeped in values and cultural traditions.
In classic Rahul Mishra style, the ‘kam-ḵẖāb’ collection is all about exquisite embroidery. Matching his and hers bandhgalas and lehengas were seen amongst the sea of colourful floral pieces. The stunning digital presentation was filmed in a century-old haveli, and a special appearance was made by the talented craftsmen who sew the magic that we saw on screen.